Dear Friend and Reader:
One of the highlights of the rather eventful Northern Solstice chart (set for Friday, June 21, 2019, when the Sun enters the tropical sign Cancer) is Vesta conjunct Uranus.
Vesta was the fourth-discovered asteroid, spotted in 1807. It’s the brightest asteroid, and was named for the goddess attended by the keepers of the sacred hearth of ancient Rome — the city fires that were never supposed to go out.
There was a long pause after the discovery of Vesta. It was not for another 38 years that the fifth asteroid, Astraea, was discovered, one year before the discovery of Neptune in 1846. During those 38 years, it was thought that there were only four asteroids (there are probably millions in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter, depending on how small you count).
The first four asteroids were regarded as planets from their discoveries between 1801 and 1807, and were reclassified as asteroids during the 1850s.
Vesta has been one of my areas of focus through my astrological life. When I write or talk about Vesta, I get an unusual response from my readers — a true resonance. I have my own take on this asteroid, who was named for the Roman goddess of the hearth, the home and the family. She was one of the 12 “Dii,” or supreme deities of the Roman pantheon.
Vesta’s myth is probably the source of the “virgin birth” story spirited by the Christian movement. The Vestal order, consisting of its famous sexually chaste priestesses (the Vestal Virgins), was absorbed by the church in the 4th century CE.
For some historical orientation, the Ancient History Encyclopedia tells us:
The Roman writer Plutarch (45-120 CE) notes, “Some are of the opinion that these vestals had no other business than the preservation of [the sacred] fire; but others conceive that they were keepers of other divine secrets, concealed from all but themselves.” Their duties required them to remain chaste and male clergy were not allowed to participate in the rites concerning Vesta and the Vestales. The Collegia of the Vestales, according to ancient writers such as Livy, was instituted during the reign of the second (possibly mythical) Roman king Numa Pompilius (717-673 BCE) and remained a sigificant part of Roman life until 394 CE when the Christian emperor Theodosius I decreed against pagan rituals, had the sacred fire put out, and dissolved the Vestales.
The Vestals were present at every important state function in Rome. They stood silently, holding space. Philosophers and emperors, including Cicero, revered them as central points of integrity for the empire, without whom Rome would surely fail. That occurred 10 years after the end of the Vestal order.
Aside, I’ve done two chart key readings today, and both clients had Vesta conjunct Uranus — an aspect that happens just once every three or four years, and which is happening now.
My Delineation of Vesta
The typical delineation of Vesta involves attitudes around work. Martha Lang Wescott says Vesta is about “projects instead of people” — the use of work that may be associated with the avoidance of intimacy.
Other perspectives include devotion to one’s work, devotion in general, and being self-sacrificing. Vesta shows up frequently in the charts of things like mass shootings, where people are sacrificed.
Some delineations point to long periods of time without sexual relationships, which is a reference to the chaste quality of the Vestal order. All of this is true in the spirit of the Blind Men and the Elephant. Each delineation contains an element of reality, though there is a larger picture.
What I noticed in my clients with prominent Vesta was a relationship pattern that did not fit the usual expectations of society.
By prominent Vesta placement, I mean on an angle (such as rising or setting), conjunct the Moon or Sun, conjunct a personal planet such as Mercury, Venus or Mars, or part of an outstanding aspect pattern in the chart. Usually, it’s the conjunctions that bring Vesta into focus.
By “unusual relationship pattern” I mean those whose intimate relationships defy the conventions of society. This includes being single for long periods of time, deciding relationships are not really worth the effort, or having relationships that do not develop in the expected way — though there would seem to be a deeper purpose to these conditions. That is the thing.
Many with prominent Vesta serve as the person who prepares their partners for the next relationship — often the best one of their lives. The Vesta person is a kind of teacher and point of orientation, holding space for a partner, and then the partner moves on, and starts a family with someone else.
For someone who does not understand this pattern, it can be frustrating. Why me? Why don’t I ever get that kind of relationship? The potential is there, and then their partner moves on. There is no context for seeing this as productive in our society. A therapist might ask why you do this.
Our whole society is obsessed with pair bonding, or what A Course in Miracles calls the Special Relationship. This paradigm goes unquestioned. It is probable that more than half of the people in our society are not made for this, but are forced into it by their families, or pushed into it by the social expectations of their friends.
People with a prominent Vesta cannot abide this, and as a result, their relationship lives can seem like a failure. Yet this is the sign of an opportunity missed.
Going Toward Embarrassment
When we think of Tantra, we usually think of partner sex. That is a misunderstanding. Tantra is not specifically about sex. It is a cosmology that uses sex as its central metaphor. This is a little like astrology using the solar system as its primary metaphor, though astrology is a study in existence.
Tantra has many manifestations, two of which are the Red Path and the White Path. The Red Path, or left path, directly involves partnered relationships. This is the path that uses the relationship as a mirror. Contrary to New Age (neotantric) theory, these relationships were not specifically monogamous.
The concept of Tantra is to unravel all of the rules of society, which are like the mortar that holds the bricks together. That binding is made of embarrassment, guilt and shame. These are the primary methods of social control.
They are, of course, a veil thrown over fear; the implicit statement is, if you don’t follow these rules, then something bad will happen. That fear must be confronted. This can be a subtle move, and you’re likely to get some kind of energy effect or response when you go through the veil. It’s a rather direct way to shift your orientation to existence.
This is why, in my formal training, I was taught that the first principle of Tantra is to go toward the embarrassment rather than to avoid it. Avoiding embarrassment leaves it in place, unquestioned, where it tends to rule the environment, and the emotions of the person. Going toward it reveals that the embarrassment is a veil that conceals the deeper pleasures and deeper truths — the feeling of being alive rather than avoiding life.
It may seem daring to follow embarrassment toward whatever it conceals, yet once you have experienced the rewards of doing so, it becomes a much more appealing experience. And as you become less capable of or susceptible to emotions along the shame spectrum, you will miss having that particular fuel to burn. However, that will take a while, as there always seems to be layer of self-negating emotion to ignite into the fire of liberation.
The White Path of Tantra
Then there is the White Path of Tantra, which I observe is represented by Vesta. This is the solo path, the one that is focused on self rather than on the partner. It’s not that White Path aspirants do not have sexual relationships with others based on a rule. They might, they might not. The difference is in how those relationships are oriented, with self rather than other at the center of the equation.
This is akin to Copernicus discovering that the Sun is in the center of the solar system, rather than the Earth. It places the center where it belongs, with the aspirant and their experience of life. On this path, jealousy has a different meaning: it cannot control relationships. It must be taken as a teacher.
On the White Path, masturbation is sex as much as any form of partner sex is. This practice shifts the understanding of both sex and masturbation. Masturbation can be something experienced and explored alone, with a partner, or with a group. Masturbation can be witnessed, assisted, and taught as a skill. It can have a place in any relationship where the people involved are open to exploring.
Such exploration most assuredly involves the confrontation of embarrassment, guilt and shame. The kernel of these emotions is usually held at the center of one’s masturbation, the first and earliest sex, and the first to be shamed. This kind of existential guilt has been the source of profound conflict for many people over many centuries. Such may be the root of most sexual conflict, which is not conflict at all: it’s really about alienation from self.
Vesta conjunct Uranus is a revolutionary aspect. The time has come to question sexual conventions and expectations, which so often lead to dark, unloving places. In the spirit of Uranus, every person has their individual sexual orientation and “identity” — which means their distinct journey. It is possible to share your journey with someone else, though only in a certain transient sense of the idea.
In other words, you may be accompanied, though your way of relating to others and your way of relating to yourself, and your sexuality, are yours alone. All of your relationships begin and end with you.
You, not someone else, tends your sacred flame.
You are the one who holds open the sacred space of self.
Planet Waves Horoscope — Solstice Edition (#1251) | By Eric Francis Coppolino
Aries (March 20-April 19) — In the end, as in the beginning, all you have is yourself. This may seem like a lonely proposition, though in truth it’s the only path to true companionship. Unless you see and recognize who you are, there is not room for others in your life, nor is there a suitable role for them to serve. You do not need self-esteem. You need to respect yourself, which means to respect the fact that you exist. That means to bear ongoing witness to the truth of your being. When you attempt to derive your value from someone else, you give away the only power you have. The temptation, indeed, the relentless pressure, to do this is not an accident; it is a setup for a society of weak and depleted people who do not recognize their own existence. In human terms, love is the recognition of freedom and individuality of one person offered to another, though you must have it to give it to anyone else.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Uranus in your sign is merely a reminder you are a distinct person unlike any other. Taurus has a way of being obsessed with conventionality. This is a defense mechanism. It’s an odd way of “protecting” yourself from the truth of your own distinction, and of blending in with the scenery. After all, if you reveal yourself as different, that attracts attention, potentially negative. Yet if you want to be at peace, it’s necessary that you give yourself permission to be who you are. There is a seeming risk involved, which is that you won’t be acceptable to others. Yet that’s always true — nobody is everyone’s cup of tea. The alternative is actual loneliness: your true being trapped within an image, façade or costume, unavailable to share yourself with the world. As you crack through the layers, you will emerge as yourself, and certain people will recognize you. Some already do.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — There is no room for deception in your life, particularly emotional. Such is often sly, as if you convince yourself of something that you don’t even want to be true. Often this is about portraying an image, which is a social norm in a world where everyone is trying to be their own publicist rather than be themselves. What you present to others needs to reflect your true priorities, no matter how others may feel about it. And if your priorities do not match those of the people around you, then you need to either go it alone, or find a different scene. If you find yourself in some kind of internal argument about who you are, take a step back and consider what that is about. It’s not healthy; it’s a sign of anger, which could easily be driving you along, with you in the passenger seat. If true, that’s something to heal, not to live for, or even with.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Mars has been in your sign for weeks, opposing the historic aspect pattern of our era: the Saturn-Pluto conjunction. If you are holding your own, and directing the course of your life, that bodes well for the future. If you are feeling out of control, or if you are involved in conflicts that are not moving toward resolution, then you simply must get a grip on yourself. Mars is now in a position where it will make a square — the most dynamic aspect — to Eris in Aries, your house of profession and reputation. Chiron is also there, calling the focus to this vitally important area of your life and your self-expression. The actions you take over the next few days will have a powerful effect on the flow of events. Sitting still is probably not an option; yet you must act with care, wisdom and courage. Enlist one or two of the deep thinkers you know — people who are not driven by fear.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You must stand up for what is right and what is true. Look about and see all the pretense, the sloganeering, the virtue signaling, the acting as if one cares. I am talking about the opposite of that: courageously advocating for someone who is depending on support and who may be having difficulty finding it. That person may be you. Standing up for oneself is not the typical thing to do; most people are more inclined to suffer injustice and indignity than they are to say something about it. Yet you must be cautious about proceeding indignantly, or subversively. Rather, be impeccable, above boards, sincere and clear. Be moderate and present your ideas or concerns in a respectful way. There is no room for games, nor for tolerating them. Conducting yourself in this way surely involves a risk, though it’s considerably less of one than refusing to speak when that is what is called for.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You must recognize when you’re looking into a fog or a hazy reflection, and instead, look honestly at the world around you. There is plenty going on — in the way of conflict, power struggle, and disregard for what is urgently necessary. It seems easier to stare into the haze in search of clarity, though in truth, it’s nothing but frustrating. And while it’s obvious that the world needs to change, the only place you can have any real influence over that project is with yourself. You are still in the middle of breaking through many layers of conditioning that conned you out of your rightful place as a creator, and creator of your own reality. You have the ability, the energy and the opportunity, though if you want results, you must focus on this one project, as an extension of everything that you do. You cannot be fully committed part of the time; commitment is a full-time occupation.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — The Sun crosses the midheaven of your solar chart on Friday, which is going to turn up the light, the sound and the juice. You will be more visible and seen as one whose purpose is to offer guidance and leadership. That means manifesting as the very incarnation of Libra, which means as the perfect diplomat. The world is not in a reasonable state right now, and many have the idea that civil discourse is nonexistent. Where it does not exist, you are the one to bring it. You set the tone. You set the agenda. Most of all, you set the example. While there is no guarantee of success, the more you bring yourself to whatever needs to be done, the better chance you will accomplish that very thing, or something better. Nobody is happy about the state of the world — that is, here on the humble level of the ordinary non-multi-billionaires. And we are the only ones who will make it better.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — With Mars about to square Eris — the planetary sigil of our era of history — some tremendous power is about to be unleashed. You would be wise, however, to think of this energy field in terms of the vision, the values, and the sense of purpose that you can express. To say ‘express’ means you are going to keep some spin control, and to do that, you will need to be something of a minimalist. We live in the age of the terrorist, the dominant, the overlord. We live in the age of people doing things because they can. Your best option is to do something because it’s the right thing to do. There is someone close to you who is offering you an example of how to conduct yourself. The essence is that your actions need to transcend you. Your personal emotions, your anger, your animus, your sense of lack, all need to be far away from this situation. They have no place there.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Jupiter is in your sign, which is one of the greatest things that can happen to Sagittarius. However, you are living with the complexity of a square to Neptune, which happens only rarely, and even less frequently with your sign directly involved. So this is an odd condition, obscuring the benefits of Jupiter and making it difficult to see the way forward. Yet Neptune in Pisces represents your own emotional confusion. That, in turn, relates to some idealized notion you have, which may be linked to a domestic situation, your family, or your sense of your grounding. The short version of the message is that you need to be more practical about your affairs, and be honest with yourself about the meaning of your personal transactions. Not the perceived meaning or value, not what you wish was true, but the actual truth — and you know what it is. Dare to do the right thing for yourself.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Mars has been the agent provocateur of your life the past few weeks, as it’s made its way across the relationship angle of your chart. Yet you have a part in every transaction. I’m not saying that if a meteorite hits you on the head, it’s your fault because you were there (as they might say in some cultures). What I am saying is your state of mind has an influence on your environment, and represents more than half of what happens in your relationships. You’re in one of those states where anger and aggression come back to you like rapid-fire boomerangs. The astrology you’re going through calls for you to be fully informed about your life (including the planetary patterns), but more than anything, you need to groom your energy and make conscious choices about how you express yourself, and to whom. This is not a time to come on strong. It’s time to lead with sincere understanding, which requires listening, patience and thought.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Your space is the place where you must be free to be yourself. There can be no compromises here; no dealing with people who in any way mistreat you within your own four walls (and if you own a business, that’s included). You’re not here to make sacrifices for anyone; rather, you either give freely of yourself, or not at all. If you find that you’re in conflict, it’s essential that you find a way to work that out honestly, if not peacefully. However, it would be wise of you to go for both, and first, that means being honest with yourself. Where a particular matter involving a sexual or romantic relationship is concerned, you are running the risk of going over the edge with some form of self-deception. And you will never get a handle on conflict with others until you truly understand the nature of the inner conflict that you are carrying around at this time.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — To have what you want, you must be willing not to have it. Then, you will have the freedom to see all sides of the situation, consider other options, and recognize the will of others for what it is. At first this may feel like one of those paradoxes, such as where an airplane is in a stall, and the pilot must point it toward the ground in order to pick up enough airspeed to come out of an even more dangerous condition. Embrace the risk involved, whatever it may be. We are living under conditions when the only thing that can cut through the noise is sincerity. Not everyone is interested. Not everyone is listening. Others are more interested in drama and conflict. Yet if peace is your goal, you may feel like you’re taking a chance by saying or doing something that has the power to offend them. That’s OK. You are making space for the truth. There is such a thing.